Effect of information and communication technology-induced multitasking on academic performance of university students in Uganda
Jehopio, Peter Jegrace
Candia, Douglas Andabati
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Numerous researches on information and communication technology (ICT)-induced multitasking among students document a number of unfavourable consequences, such as heightened distraction and less attention, hampered learning and hindered productivity at the expense of better academic performance. This study focused on the effect of information and communication technology induced multitasking on academic performance of university students in Uganda. To this end, primary data were collected during the month of May 2016 using stratified cluster sample design. A self-reported questionnaire was used to collect data from 312 students of Makerere University who participated in the study. Through structural equation modelling (SEM), it was demonstrated that ICT- induced multitasking does not affect academic performance directly but through self-regulation, attention span, emotional control and productivity focus. Nonetheless, multitasking does not always have negative consequences. To a majority of students, multitasking provides emotional satisfaction and enjoyment, which do correlate positively with good academic performance. Indeed, multitasking can be an effective use of time when well-regulated and an efficient tool in problem solving. Multitasking may only be an indicative of the changing nature of norms. Traditionally, one was expected to give and receive undivided attention when talking in a face-to-face conversation with another; yet new norms are evolving for the networked society, such as responding to text messages promptly. To buffer the negative effect of ICT- induced multitasking on academic performance, one needs a facility with a good degree of self-regulation, attention span, emotional control and productivity focus.